What Was Your Favorite Paragraph About Religion in the Past Year?

I’m not looking for soundbyte quotations.

And my attention span lasts only a sentence or three.

So here’s the question:

What was the best paragraph (or two) about religion/atheism you read this year?

Self-promotion is allowed. If you wrote it, that’s fine. But please limit yourself to *the* best thing you wrote. In other words, not every blog post was a winner :)

Obviously, provide links to the posts!

I’ll compile my favorites in a few weeks.

  • Dallas

    These are my favorite religion/atheism-related quotes from the last year. The following two are from http://atheistblogger.com/2008/02/15/101-atheist-quotes/:

    “Remember, Jesus would rather constantly shame gays than let orphans have a family.” – Steven Colbert

    This is a response to the claim made by Pastor Rick Warren and others that “atheism is arrogant”:
    “Let me get this straight. You think the Creator of the Universe cares personally about your life, and that you know, with absolute certainty, what he wants for all of humankind. While I think that we’re basically alone, not very special, and are just fumbling through our random existence trying to do the best we can.
    “And I’m the arrogant one?” – Daniel Miessler

    And, finally, from http://www.wisdomquotes.com/001623.html:

    “Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things: One is that God loves you and you’re going to burn in hell. The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth and you should save it for someone you love.” – Butch Hancock

  • http://non-theist.com Josh Nankivel

    Shameless plug for my website where anyone can register to write their own non-theist blog posts. It’s only about a week old, but this is my favorite quote so far:
    (Good Without God)

    “True ethical behavior and morality is the product of the complex sociological and psychological workings of the human race. It is judged within this context as well, if the judgment is to be objective. A subjective definition of morality holds no value for any except the individual and/or society who holds it, and those who wish to respect their particular brand of morality. If anything, atheists have the potential to have the truest set of morality because they are able to view any scenario objectively, without religious dogma thousands of years old impeding them.”

    Josh Nankivel, non-theist.com

  • Julie

    “We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Sahara. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively outnumbers the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.”

    Richard Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow

  • Rufus

    I loved this piece on raising children without religion or atheism:

    I am also a parent. I have two children: a 13-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son. They don’t belong to any religious group, either. I never had them baptized, christened, or blessed. Neither of them had a bris, bat mitzvah or first communion. But am I raising “atheist children”? Just because I do not identify our family as religious, are they atheists? I don’t think so. Rather, I am raising questioning children, and those are the best kind of children to send out into the world

    I never describe our family as “an atheist family” (I prefer to say, “We are nothing,” as in not part of any religion), and I reject the notion that my kids are automatically what I am. I think that keeping them open to all the possibilities is more important than telling them what to believe in.

    From Am I raising ‘atheist children’? by Nica Lalli http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2008/03/am-i-raising-at.html

  • johnb300m

    My “favorite” quote has to come from the Answers in Genesis Statement of Faith.
    I find it absolutely chilling:

    “By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology can be valid if it contradicts the Scriptural record. Of Primary importance is the fact that evidence is always subject to interpretation by fallible people who do not possess all information.”

  • Munjaros

    “Know what I love? How God’s mercy will save God’s creation from God’s wrath for breaking God’s law, which was only God’s will in the first place.”

    by Rex Mundane in the comments of one of Ray Comfort’s blog drivels

  • http://bluehydra.blogspot.com/ Hydra

    This one comes to mind:

    Nothing must be held sacred. Question everything. God is not great, Jesus is not your lord, you are not disciples of any charismatic prophet. You are all human beings who must make your way through your life by thinking and learning, and you have the job of advancing humanity’s knowledge by winnowing out the errors of past generations and finding deeper understanding of reality. You will not find wisdom in rituals and sacraments and dogma, which build only self-satisfied ignorance, but you can find truth by looking at your world with fresh eyes and a questioning mind.

    – PZ Myers, The Great Desecration

  • http://undiscoveredfuture.blogspot.com Rebecca

    This is on my facebook profile in the “quotes” section. Not explicitly “atheist,” but here it is:

    “ . . . my answer to the question ‘What is the meaning of life?’ is akin to the answer I would give to the question ‘What is the meaning of such and such a book?’ The meaning of a book is to be found in the words, the sentences, the paragraphs, and the chapters it contains. Likewise, the meaning of life is to be found in the meaningful moments, episodes, and achievements that occur within our brief appearance here on earth. A book doesn’t lack meaning because it comes to an end on the last page. Nor do our lives lack meaning because they come to an end when all neural activity ceases.”
    -Raymond Bradley

  • 1stmakearoux

    My favorite is from Bartcop:

    I see religious people as illogical by definition.
    Doing things to please a non-existent cloud being is hardly rational.

    All atheists wants to do is eradicate the crazy notion that God wants us
    to do X and Y and we’ll burn in hell for eternity (Thanks God!) if we disobey him.

    To me, atheists just want more science and logic in our lives.
    We see no difference in praying and asking a Magic 8 Ball for guidance.

    When a plane crashes and 290 of the 300 people die, religious people say
    “God must’ve had a plan for those ten people,” but an athieist wonders why
    they don’t say, “God must have wanted those 290 people dead,”

    When you see religiously-insane, Oklahoma handjobs handling rattlesnakes,
    don’t you say to yourself, “How stupid and illogical can some people be?”
    That’s how we see all religious people – as snake handlers without the danger.

    I’ll bet you think it’s crazy for Muslims to expect 72 virgins in their afterlife,
    but you see it as rational that God will welcome you to his giant cloud city?

    To me, that’s as rational as “Step on a crack, break your Momma’s back.”
    No matter how many cracks you step on, your Momma’s back will be just fine.

    The best way out of this is everybody gets to believe whatever they want
    but
    we shouldn’t saddle future generations with the crazy idea that there is a God.

    Like racism, religion needs to be fazed out.
    I chose to follow logic and common sense and I invite you to join me.

  • http://www.cognitivedissident.org cognitive dissident

    Here’s a favorite quote from a book I read a few weeks ago:

    “The great religious traditions do not have a monopoly on addressing the most fundamental and challenging issues. They share that honour with the secular, philosophical tradition. And one advantage of a more philosophical approach to such questions (which certainly doesn’t rule out religious answers, of course) is that it doesn’t prejudge the issue. Rather than approaching such questions in a genuinely critical, open-minded way, religious enquirers have sometimes already made up their minds: they’ve already decided that only a religious answer will do.”

    Stephen Law, The War for Children’s Minds (p. 135)

  • Elsin Ann Perry

    “The faith in which I was brought up assured me that I was better than other people; I was saved, they were damned …Our hymns were loaded with arrogance — self-congratulation on how cozy we were with the Almighty and what a high opinion he had of us, what hell everybody else would catch come Judgment Day.”

    Robert A. Heinlein, quoted in “2000 Years of Disbelief,” James A. Haught, ed.

  • johnb300m

    Rebecca, isn’t is clearly obvious?
    The meaning of life is 42.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    i couldn’t resist :-)

  • Peter N

    From the anonymous blog Daylight Athesim:

    “It makes no sense whatsoever that an infinite, omnipotent god would need to incarnate himself as a human and then subject himself to an agonizing and bloody death just so he could persuade himself to forgive us and save us from the cruel fate he created for us. It makes even less sense that the all-wise creator of the universe would manifest himself in an isolated corner of the world during a primitive age of its history, teach proverbs identical to those of the other belief systems of the day, promise to return quickly to destroy the world, and then vanish utterly for a span of time now going on two thousand years, leaving behind no trace except for a few hazy memories and anonymous writings that he had ever been here at all. These are the irrational and nonsensical claims that truly deserve to be investigated and subjected to critical inquiry.”

  • Mathew Wilder

    Daylight Atheism isn’t really an anonymous blog. Great paragraph pick, though! You could practically pick any paragraph from any entry on that site!

  • Jacqueline

    An oldie but a goodie:

    God used to be the best explanation we’d got, and we’ve now got vastly better ones. God is no longer an explanation of anything, but has instead become something that would itself need an insurmountable amount of explaining. So I don’t think that being convinced that there is no god is as irrational or arrogant a point of view as belief that there is.
    –Douglas Adams

  • Kelly

    I have 2. First, from Pharyngula, one I’m sure will be on many lists:

    By the way, I didn’t want to single out just the cracker, so I nailed it to a few ripped-out pages from the Qur’an and The God Delusion. They are just paper. Nothing must be held sacred. Question everything. God is not great, Jesus is not your lord, you are not disciples of any charismatic prophet. You are all human beings who must make your way through your life by thinking and learning, and you have the job of advancing humanity’s knowledge by winnowing out the errors of past generations and finding deeper understanding of reality. You will not find wisdom in rituals and sacraments and dogma, which build only self-satisfied ignorance, but you can find truth by looking at your world with fresh eyes and a questioning mind.

    Second, from The Meming of Life post on Obama’s atheist mother:

    So thank you, Ann, from all the nonreligious parents following in your footsteps. We now have a resounding answer for those who would question whether we can raise ethical, caring kids without religion:

    Yes We Can.


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